What to do when your gay or lesbian child marries

April 6, 2016

Clark sociology Professor Deborah M. Merrill spoke with Lavender Magazine's Shane Lueck in this article published March 31:

“Marriage is a beautiful time: two families coming together under a new union, celebrating the love of two individuals. But the marriage also has broader effects, namely on the relationship between the children getting married and their parents. Deborah M. Merrill, professor of sociology at Clark University, previously explored the effect an adult child’s heterosexual marriage had on their relationship with their parents in her book, 'When Your Children Marry: How Marriage Changes Relationships with Adult Children.' Merrill followed that research with the effects of the same phenomena for same-sex marriage once it became more common in Massachusetts. … ‘I thought the fact that there are no pre-conceived expectations for a relationship with a gay son-in-law or lesbian daughter-in-law might allow for alternative in-law dynamics rather than the traditional tensions,’ she says. ‘In addition, I questioned how the different gender combinations between in-laws would impact those relationships.’”